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photo © Razor Film

Wadjda is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn’t be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. But Wadjda’s mother won’t allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. So Wadjda decides to try and raise the money herself.

At first, Wadjda’s mother is too preoccupied with convincing her husband not to take a second wife to realize what’s going on. And soon enough Wadjda’s plans are thwarted when she is caught running various schemes at school. Just as she is losing hope of raising enough money, she hears of a cash prize for a Koran recitation competition at her school. She devotes herself to the memorization and recitation of Koranic verses, and her teachers begin to see Wadjda as a model pious girl. The competition isn't going to be easy, especially for a troublemaker like Wadjda, but she refuses to give in. She is determined to continue fighting for her dreams…

Haifaa Al Mansour was born in 1974 and is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia. She finished her BA in Literature at the American University in Cairo and completed a Master’s degree in Film Studies from the University of Sydney. She began her film career with three shorts, followed by her award-winning documentary WOMEN WITHOUT SHADOWS. Whether through her short films or through her work in television and print media, Haifaa is famous for penetrating the wall of silence surrounding the sequestered lives of Saudi women and providing a platform for their unheard voices. Her films include: WHO? (short, 2003), BEREAVEMENT OF THE FLEDGLING (short, 2003), THE ONLY WAY OUT (short, 2004), WOMEN WITHOUT SHADOWS (doc, 2005), and WADJDA (2012).
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2012
Director Haifaa Al Mansour
Screenplay Haifaa Al Mansour
Cinematography Lutz Reitemeier
Cast Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Ahd, Sultan Al Assaf
Producers Roman Paul, Gerhard Meixner
Co-Producer Amr Alkahtani
Production Company Razor Film Produktion/Berlin, in co-production with NDR/Hamburg, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Highlook Group/Riyadh, Rotana Studios/Riyadh
Length 93 min
Format 35 mm, DCP, color, 1:1.85
Original Version
Subtitled Version English
Festivals Venice 2012, Telluride 2012, Viennale 2012, Tallinn Black Nights 2012, Dubai 2012, Göteborg 2013, Istanbul 2013, JeonJu 2013, Los Angeles 2013, Sydney 2013 (In Competition), Cluj 2013, Karlovy Vary 2013, Giffoni 2013, Durban 2013, Haugesund 2013, BUSTER Copenhagen 2013, Vancouver 2013, Palm Springs 2014, Montreal International Children's Film Festival 2014, Cairo 2018
Awards NETPAC Award & Special FICC Jury Mention Tallinn 2012, Best Actress & Best Film Dubai 2012, Audience Award: Best Feature Film Götgeborg 2013, Audience Award 2013, Special Mention BUSTER Copenhagen 2013
With backing from German Federal Film Fund, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg, Sundance Institute, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art
German Distributor Koch Media/Munich

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